Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Raymond Cranfill, except as specified

Annual or perennial herb, often rhizomed, often of wet open places, generally monoecious; roots fibrous, hairy
Stem generally 3-sided
Leaves often 3-ranked; sheath generally closed; ligule generally 0; blade (0) various, parallel-veined
Inflorescence: spikelets variously clustered; flowers generally sessile in axil of flower bract
Flower small, generally wind-pollinated; perianth 0 or bristle-like; stamens generally 3, anthers attached at base, 4-chambered; ovary superior, 1-chambered, 1-ovuled, style 2–3-branched
Fruit: achene, generally 3-sided
Genera in family: ± 110 genera, 3600 species: worldwide, especially temp
Reference: [Tucker 1987 J Arnold Arbor 68:361–445]
Difficult: taxa differ in technical characters of inflorescence and fruit.



Joy Mastrogiuseppe

Perennial, cespitose or from rhizomes, generally monoecious
Stem generally sharply 3-angled, generally solid
Leaves 3-ranked, generally glabrous except generally scabrous on midrib, margin; sheath closed, back (blade side of stem) green, ribbed, front generally thin, translucent, forming generally U-shaped mouth at top
Inflorescence: spikelets generally several–many, arrayed in raceme, panicle, or head-like cluster, each 1–many-flowered, generally subtended by a spikelet bract
Flowers unisexual, each subtended by 1 flower bract; perianth 0
Staminate flower: stamens generally 3
Pistillate flower enclosed by perigynium (sac-like bract); perigynium body 2–3-sided or round, wall generally delicate; perigynium beak tip open, often notched; style 1, generally deciduous, stigmas 2–4, exserted
Fruit 2–4-sided
Etymology: (Latin: cutter, from sharp leaf and stem edges)
Reference: [Standley 1985 Syst Bot Monogr 7:1–106]
Fully mature perigynia needed for identification, so are described under "FR" (long-persistent perigynia are often atypical); perigynium "front" faces spikelet axis; "fruit" refers to achene body (excluding beak). "Shredding" lower leaf sheath fronts become a network or fringe of veins; some others shred longitudinally only. Difficult because of many species and minute key characters; longer key statements and descriptions are designed to enhance both ease and probability of correct identification. Group descriptions are assumed in specific descriptions
Horticultural information: Many species especially those with rhizomes are INVASIVE. This is one of the most effective genera for knitting moist or wet soil.


C. aurea Nutt.

(Group 6)
Leaf: blade 2–4 mm wide
Inflorescence: terminal spikelet sometimes pistillate above, 0.9–2 mm wide in staminate portion, at least lowest non-basal spikelet separate, lateral ones erect to nodding, 4–20 mm, 3–5 mm wide; lowest spikelet bract sheath > 4.5 mm, mouth U-shaped; lower staminate flower bracts 2–4 mm; pistillate flower bract <, not appressed against, often falling before fully expanded perigynium, acute to narrow-awned, white to red-brown
Fruit: perigynia generally 4–10 per spikelet, ± ascending to spreading, 1.8–3 mm, 1–2 mm wide, spheric in spikelet, generally round or wide-tapered at base, generally sessile, generally strongly-ribbed, green at full size but turning orange just before falling (rare in genus), translucent, fleshy, when dry orange or gold to purplish, upper part often white, lower ± squashed, body tip wide, blunt, generally not conspicuously papillate at 10X , beak ± 0, tip unnotched, often red-brown; fruit 1.3–2 mm, 1–1.6 mm wide, beak < 0.1 mm
Chromosomes: 2n=52
Ecology: Wet places
Elevation: 1100–3300 m.
Bioregional distribution: High North Coast Ranges, High Cascade Range, High Sierra Nevada, Transverse Ranges, Modoc Plateau, n East of Sierra Nevada (Bodie), White and Inyo Mountains, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: to British Columbia, ne N.America, Utah, New Mexico
Dried, immature perigynia ± indistinguishable from C. hassei
Horticultural information: TRY; STBL.

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bioregional map for CAREX%20aurea being generated
N.B. The distribution depicted here differs from that given in The Jepson Manual (1993)

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